Parable of the Wicked Servant, Domenico Fetti, c. 1620
O gracious and gentle and condescending God,
God of peace, Father of mercy, God of all comfort;
see, I lament before you the evil of my heart;
I acknowledge that I am too much disposed
to anger, jealousy and revenge,
to ambition and pride,
which often give rise to discord and bitter feelings
between me and others.
Too often have I offended and grieved both you,
O long-suffering Father, and my fellow men.
O forgive me this sin,
and suffer me to partake of the blessing
which you have promised to the peacemakers,
who shall be called the children of God.
Johann Arndt, 1558-1621, Lutheran pastor and theologian, forerunner of pietism
The Complete Book of Christian Prayer slightly altered
The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’
The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ But he wouldn’t do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.
The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’ The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that’s exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn’t forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy.